Short Photo Report – The View From Up Here #1

By me
All photos me too, copyrighted

While it does little for raw cross-country performance, rumbling along at a 100 or so knots in your stock Skyhawk does have a raft of plus points – especially if you are a photographer :D. Flying mostly in good weather conditions, on an aircraft that is the definition of predictable, and at speeds about the same as those on the highway you are following, the sedate Skyhawk (or the C150) often allows you to wander around a bit, look outside and enjoy the scenery… and, if you already count your photo equipment as part of the plane’s empty weight, snap a few nice shots as well! 🙂

With this in mind – and with nothing new happening on the local aviation scene – I went back to my photo database in search of some interesting airborne shots, shots that show what the view is actually like up here :). And this is what I came up with…

Cruising leisurely westwards against a 20 knot headwind 1500 ft above the Slavonian flatlands. Croatia’s most important farmland region, Slavonija is not particularly exciting flying-wise; but it is rife with disused concrete airstrips formerly used by agricultural aircraft. Measuring at 600-660×10 meters, most are now in a poor state and not usable on a day-to-day basis… however, should your engine – your only engine! – decide to quit, they can come in very handy for an emergency landing (so much so that I’ve devoted this – and a few other flights – to scouting them out 🙂 )


An interesting view of the Velebit mountain range during a prolonged and laborious climb to 8,000 ft on a very hot May day. One of the southern extensions of the Alps, the range peaks at about 6,000 ft, but rarely goes above 4,000 in most places (like here) – on the face of it, hardly impressive figures. However, running perpendicular to the two strong prevailing winds in this region, it can be very treacherous when the windspeed picks up…
Finally at 8,000 ft and preparing for a spot of light turbulence. The slope of the continental side – running northwest to southeast – gives an indication of the strength of the mountain’s infamous updrafts and downdrafts. Most pronounced during the “bora” northeastern wind – whose speeds often go above 50 knots – the very strong mountain waves created have over the years claimed dozens of lives… rising steeply on both sides, the Velebit range also splits this part of Croatia into two distinct weather systems: a mild Mediterranean climate on the coastal side, and a moderate continental on the other. The changes between them can be quite pronounced – you can fly in sub-zero temperatures, fog and low cloud on one end, and end up in +15 Centigrade, unlimited visibility and clear skies on the other – all in the space of about 10 miles…
Something less mountainous for a change :D. Flying 1,000 ft above the hilly region of Zagorje, on a beautiful – but very windy – day. One of the northernmost regions of the country – just 10 minutes from Lučko as the Skyhawk flies – Zagorje is the realm of the student pilot :). With its numerous small villages, abundant roads and railways, and mild terrain, it is almost perfect for every student’s first cross-country flight… (including the author’s)
Instant instrument conditions – just add water :D. Taking off from Lučko on a cold and very humid morning, it was only a matter of time before the windshield fogged up. The warm air vent on the pilot’s side had immediately cleared the problem up – but in the copilot’s seat, I was left with less than impressive forward visibility 🙂
More dramatic weather photos as I skirt the edge of a stormcloud near Lošinj Island. The first sign of the approach of a huge front moving northwards across the Adriatic Sea, this particular CB is classified as “embedded”, that is hidden in other clouds and therefore virtually impossible to spot from a distance – unless it is pouring rain, like here 🙂
Sunset over the Bay of Trieste in Italy as I cruise at 5,000 back to base at Portorož in Slovenia :). The previously mentioned weather front can be seen approaching from the south, blending together sky and sea – perfect conditions for one of the biggest killers in aviation: loss of spatial orientation
Clear skies, clean air and not even a whiff of turbulence – what a wonderful day to go flying! Just trim the plane and let it fly itself… something I was very appreciative of that day while flying from Portorož to Venice :D. The unique airspace layout of northeastern Italy – defined in most part by the requirements of the famous Aviano airbase – means that the communications workload can be considerable: in the 45 minutes it took me to reach Venice, I was in contact with Portorož Tower/Approach, Trieste Radar, Aviano Radar, Treviso Radar, Venice Approach and finally Lido Information :D. Further adding to the workload was the dense traffic flying along the same coastal route as me, necessitating a continual scanning of the airspace around me

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